I have on many occasions contemplated trying to publish a book containing pictures of all the lovely doors that I have seen on my travels, and Larnaca has certainly added many beautiful ones to my collection.
This is a very different place to Aiya Napa, which was lovely but full of modern apartment blocks and hotels. This is the wonderful old Cyprus that I have been really looking forward to seeing. I have spent many a happy hour wandering up and down the streets exploring. I love all the little bars and workshops in the old buildings, like this copper workshop below.
It is a city of contrasts. The area that I am staying in is just outside the city, next to one of the main beach areas, in between that and the salt lakes. There are many hotels and very swish apartment blocks here, and lots more under construction with hoardings showing beautiful designer apartments, all with balconies with their own jacuzzies, and wonderful sea views.
Between this and the city is an older area, full of small houses, possibly those of the fisherman who worked out of the harbour. Some of the houses are in the process of being restored, many sadly are empty. It is very interesting to see the contrasts between the two areas so close to each other, and I wonder what will become of some of these empty houses.
The city itself has its seafront, with a lovely promenade full of palm trees and lots of restaurants, including all the usual big chains, but lots of independent ones as well.
I have been spending lots of time in the older streets behind there, around the old mosque next to the fort, and the church of St Lazurus with its beautiful colonnades and a stunning bell tower
The interior of the church was very different to the others I posted about last week as it had a lot of very rustic stonework inside rather than paintings. There was still a stunning altarpiece.
I was very good and only had a little look around the icon shop, I didn’t buy anything though I could have spent a fortune in there.
I visited the fort on Thursday, situated looking over the bay, next to the mosque, and almost on the beach.
It was fascinating to see the Turkish tombstones that they have on display.
This is an island of so many cultures, the fort was built by the Franks, restored by the Turks during the Ottaman Empire and then later used as a jail and police station by the British. The mosque next to the fort was joined to the the neighbouring buildings of a later date by these buttresses.
The more I read about Cypriot history the more I find out about how many different people have come here over the years to settle, to conquer, to trade. It really is an amazingly diverse history, and obviously not without an impact on those who have lived here.
Then there are the many, many beautiful doors. Some are shiny and pristine, from the beautifully restored houses. Others are sad and chipped, sometimes you can glimpse the empty abandoned rooms behind them, some only front an empty shell of a building with no roof. However each must have its own story to tell, a part to play in the very complex story of all the people that have been here.
Most have, very helpfully, the date of construction on them, and many seem to be from the 1910s to 1920s. It makes me wonder what this place was like then, before the fight for independence from the British, before the division of the island into two parts.
I have visited Nicosia this week as well, the world’s only divided capital city, and am planning to go back again next week. In the next post I will show you some of the beautiful things there. There may well be doors involved, but also I visited some brilliant museums and finally got to see some Cypriot textiles!
Until next time, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.